June 21, 2022
Impossible Mining, which is developing responsible seabed mining and refining technology, has announced raising an additional $10.1 million in seed funding. The company said it will use the funding to develop and test its four-mile deep robotic collection technology, as well as its Bio-Extraction technology.
“Lithium-ion battery markets will increase tenfold in the next decade, fueled by growth in EVs,” said Justin Hamilton, lead investor of the seed funding. “The deep seabed contains the largest global resource of battery metals. The Impossible Mining team has demonstrated its robotics technology showing the capabilities for selective pickup, rising to the challenge of accessing these metals in an environmentally responsible way.”
The company began working on its engineering architecture in 2020, with its first patents filed and initial funding round completed in 2021. A proof of concept is expected to be delivered later this year. An autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) fleet will be developed using pick and place manipulator technology to harvest nodules individually, minimizing the disturbance of sediment on seafloor ecosystems. Image sensing technology is able to identify megafauna present on the nodules, and will leave those nodules untouched, allowing for the preservation of nodule-dependent fauna. The company said the system is scalable and offers low environmental impacts.
The company’s Bio-Extraction technology will enable the use of specific bacterial strains to liberate metals into solution, without the use of acids, toxic chemicals, or extreme heat. This process aims to disrupt existing processing technology such as flotation, roasting and leaching, the company said.
“The U.S. needs independent, secure access to critical battery metals,” said Oliver Gunasekara, CEO and co-founder of Impossible Mining. “We are excited to accelerate the production of our deep water robots with this injection of capital, and to prove to both regulators and stakeholders that we can achieve what dredge-based technology can’t – the preservation of the seafloor environment.”
For more details on the company, visit the Impossible Mining website here.